Changes in fortune

A lot’s been happening in between me catching stomach viruses and sinus infections. I’ve renegotiated my home loan to something that’s survivable on my present income level. That’s a good thing. I hadn’t said much about it on the internet, but my continued occupancy of the house in question had been a question mark for the better part of a year. The negotiating process was stressful, maddening, and s-l-o-w. But I’m waiting for one piece of paperwork I have to sign, and then it’s done, allowing me to calm my beef min and concentrate on other things.

A while back, I learned that Avid was releasing a freeware version of its Media Composer software. Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I used to edit video with Avid Media Composer practically in my sleep, whether at work or at home…except that the Avid system I had at home was, unknown to me, a limited time offer. Sheer bad luck intervened, and the insurance company with whom I had homeowners’ insurance at the time conveniently decided that this was business equipment, not something one would find in a home, and therefore they wouldn’t cover its loss. I enlisted some help to try to restore the machine to working order, to no avail – it wouldn’t be a video editing system ever again. But where the new Media Composer Free is concerned? Any PC with the space and RAM required will do. A decent video card is best, but again, not required.

I socked back a little bit of money toward a new (well, refurb) PC with the required specs, and have begun setting it up as a new Avid. It’s slow going acquiring the necessary hard drives for this venture, and it might be Christmas before I’m editing again, but it will happen. I’m excited about it. It’s probably my most marketable job skill and I haven’t been able to practice it for seven years and change. Video editing is just what I do. Some people can whittle intricate shapes out of wood…I do that with pictures and sound. Or at least I can with the right tools. Budget and circumstance have not been my friends of late, but in this case, things worked out almost too well.

And speaking of that… Continue reading

You. are. kidding. me.

Oh, Facebook sidebar ads, now I know you’re screwing with me.

In other news, the Avid lives! I’ll be picking it up this weekend, in what will almost certainly be the least stressful thing I do all weekend. I’m looking forward to having it back home and working – especially since we’re having more cold nights and I could use some heat in my room. 🙄

One other thing – admittedly very geeky – that has brought a smile to my face is this prop replica made by a friend who usually turns his talents to customizing action figures and the like:

…give up? This is, of course, a shockingly good replica of an original Blake’s 7 teleport bracelet. About 23 years ago, I would’ve proudly worn this thing out in public. 😆 For now, I’ll settle on displaying it next to my HAL-9000 prop… at least until Jump Cut City goes back into production (oh, the screen time this thing would have gotten back then). Many thanks to Hoosier Whovian.

Enjoy this photograph of my dongle

Remember all the fun I had in 2006 with the mystery of the missing Avid dongle? And what Avid said to me about replacing said dongle? (and how I was able to give ’em the finger anyway? $10,000 my ass!) Well, I’m not losing the Avid dongle again; seen at right is my simple solution for that problem. (To be fair, Kent reminded me not to lose the dongle again; it’s just possible that I was a little bit less than… erm… diplomatic when I panic-called him in 2006 looking for it…)

I’ve had a few leads on a replacement power supply; thanks to everyone who’s responded. I’ll be following up extra-soonishly.

Arkansas Valley Electric Co-op is sending someone out to look at the wiring tomorrow; the thought occurred to me that, only a couple of weeks ago, someone from Cox was out here and had to restring our entire cable run from the tap to the pole to the house to my room. It’s just possible that he might have bumped or jarred something along the way (don’t cross the streams, man!). Given that there have been three electrical incidents in the past 9 days (so far…), a wiring check would seem to be called for. Almost everyone looked at the power supply photos in yesterday’s post and said “massive power surge,” but I’m not sure if that theory sticks. The fuse on the surge protector (and yes, for a multi-thousand-buck editing workstation and its multitudes of outboard gear, I have a really robust pair of surge protectors, not just a power strip) was not fried, and nothing else on that surge protector (which also powers about half of the outboard SCSI drives) fried. While I think a wiring check is probably warranted from last week’s frying-of-the-central-heat-and-air-system alone, I have a feeling this may not necessarily be related. I’m no expert in pushing electrons through copper wiring, but that’s what my electrical physics gut-check is telling me: a power surge big enough to do that would’ve done that to more than just one component. Then again, my gut-checks have bounced before due to insufficient funds, worm attacks and whatnot.

Still, I’m hoping to have a fix in place soon – not being able to power my Avid up and edit something, even if it’s just something goofy using someone else’s footage for a laugh, is like having an arm cut off. I’m so used to firing the thing up about once a day and just… doing… something, you know? It may be that it bugs me more now because I don’t have access to an Avid at work. To me, not being able to edit video is like not being able to walk. It’s just something I do.

My electrical wiring will be checked out tomorrow. In a moment, the results of that trial.

Puck, the amazing Avid-repairing cat

For the past six months, I’ve had a problem plaguing my Avid video editing system: direct output from my other PC was a no-go. Running that same PC out to a DVD recorder, and then playing the resulting DVD-R back into the Avid, was okay. But direct recording, which is much more desirable? Nope. For some reason, the video signal was arriving weak and out-of-phase – the color was nearly 180 degrees out of phase, and there seemed to be nothing I could do to resolve the issue, even after re-seating/swapping cables, swapping out distribution amps at the source, and basically rewiring everything. This is a big item for me to do without, because I record a lot of video for the site this way (including Phosphor Dot Fossils video pieces).

Lo and behold, the first time Puck gets behind the Avid and starts playing with the wiring, the problem is fixed. Seriously. The video quality is just beautiful. He wouldn’t even have gotten back there except that I had removed some obstacles so that I could get behind the machine. Maybe if I let him get back there again, I’ll wind up with HD.

Puck

The sad thing about this whole story is that the only reward I have for the little guy is taking him to the vet in a few hours so they can snip his boy bits and, after much delibration, his front claws. He’s literally torn apart some of our furniture, just doing routine scratching. This was a tough decision, because that aside, he’s actually very judicious in his claw use: as much as Evan has been getting a bit rough with his feline friends of late, he’s accumulated all of two or three scratches. Puck normally just looks at me as the boy is trying to drag him away by one leg, as if to say “Help! I’d rather not shred your kid here.” For an ex-stray, Puck is a very gentle cat, with both Evan and the other cats. I think he knows he’s got a better gig here than in the big field behind the TV station. Unlike Obi, our other adopted stray, Puck shows zero interest in returning to the outdoors; obviously he’s not feeling any nostalgia for checking transmitter tower lights. If he keeps embarking on successful rewiring projects around here, though, I may start bringing Puck to work with me. Not to drop him off where I found him, but to lend his expertise to the engineering department.

The standard instructions for a cat who has surgery in the morning is to cut him off from food and water at 10pm the previous night. The key words here again being “ex-stray,” this has proven amazingly difficult. That little cat can get into just about anything. He’ll also eat just about anything. Dirty dishwater? Check. Fig newtons left out on the counter? Check. Who knows, by 7 o’ clock this morning, we may have to postpone the snipping of his outboard gear on account of not being able to enforce the food/water embargo.

I fell off the blogwagon

Sorry, I seem to have fallen off the blogwagon here lately.

One thing I take great pains to not do with my blog – not that I’ve always been able to stick to this and censor myself at just the right times – is bitch and moan about stuff. Sadly, that’s really all I feel like doing lately. I don’t like listening to/reading that sort of thing, and I don’t want to be the guy who decides that everyone else is entitled to listen to him whining. So…I just haven’t said a lot lately, anywhere.

I’ve got a new DVD out, which I’m in the process of writing a semi-technical post about for the 0.8 people who are interested, and I’ve already loaded raw footage into the trusty Avid so I can start editing the next DVD very soon. In and around that, I’m writing, editing and re-writing a book, and getting ready for OVGE this October in Tulsa.

All of this while looking for a job, which has really been the thing that’s had me in a deep blue funk lately. I originally had a big spiel written here, and then remembered that the first part of this post as about not venting uncontrollably in all directions. Oops.

One thing I’m really looking forward to is Evan’s second birthday. It falls on a Saturday this year, and I’m planning a “boys’ day out” to the Tulsa Zoo. Maybe the planetarium if he’s still up for it. I’d like to pick up my dad on the way, but I don’t know what his schedule’s like. I think it’d be neat to get all the Green men in one place…probably at the monkey exhibit, appropriately enough. I’ve never been to a zoo before – talk about a sheltered upbringing – and Evan loooooves animals, so I’ve been looking forward to this to the tune of actually having dreams about it. I just love the look on his face when he’s discovering stuff and figuring it out, and I’m sure this trip will give him plenty of chances to be “wowed.”

Amazing how a trip to someplace two hours away full of animals is becoming the light at the end of the tunnel for me. As long as little E is with me, that’s what makes it a good day.